A question to Microsoft? Whats unique about Windows 7?

Just like I don't know what exactly will be in the Ark of the Covenant, I have the same questions about Windows 7, will Mr Rose of Microsoft be the person to solve the mystery for me?
Just like I don't know what exactly will be in the Ark of the Covenant, I have the same questions about Windows 7. What exactly is the "treasure" inside 7? Will Mr Rose be the person to solve the mystery for me? NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that this photo is by: Mark Prigoff. The Ark of the Covenant replica, (1:4 scale), made by Indy Magnoli. - You can find his site at http://www.markprigoff.com

I recently saw a twit from user stephenlrose , allegedly a “Sr Community Mgr for Windows (IT Pros)” and asked him the question Openbytes has been asking for many months and never recieved a proper reply.  As readers here have seen, many of the Microsoft supporters that I’ve had discourse with are rude and insulting (IMO) and take great exception to Microsoft products being challenged and/or alternatives being suggested.

With that in mind, it appears I have messaged someone in a position of some authority within Microsoft, so I knew that the childish antics of others would be absent.  I’m happy to say that so far, this is the case.

The question I put to Mr Rose was:

“…….. what exactly is the incentive for users to upgrade XP to 7? Is it purely gfx? I would honestly like to know what feature 7 offers that cant be done either natively or via 3rd party software in XP.”

And Mr Rose kindly responded with:

“DirectAccess/BranchCache/BitLocker to go with AD support/Federated Search. Visit www.talkingaboutwindows.com for IT pro interviews on why Win 7.”

Right, firstly the site runs off Silverlight so it is useless to me.  I don’t want to bring up the comments/feelings on that particular product since we’ve been there before and the last thing I want is Mr Rose having a justification to ignore on the basis of a “trolling/flaming/cyber bullying” claim.  I’m not for one minute suggesting that Mr Rose would choose this avenue, but since its been a common theme with difficult questions before (in respect of other people)  I decided to be very “gentle”

So lets look at the first part of his answer.  I am going to try to keep this as simple as possible and there are reasons for this.  I believe these type of answers are what convinces the “average user” that Windows is the only platform to consider.  In my opinion an average user sees a fancy name they cant understand and presumes its important/unique, ergo they must have that product over all others.


This is simply a disk encryption tool.  You can encrypt the contents (or even a whole) drive.  That is it.  There are plenty of 3rd party alternatives available.  Some free, some not.  This is not a feature that is “unique” to 7 since you can do it in XP (albeit by 3rd party software).   PGP is one such package that has built a very good reputation with this type of software.


From the Microsoft site, I quote “DirectAccess is a new feature in the Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating systems that gives users the experience of being seamlessly connected to their corporate network any time they have Internet access.” Basically (unless Im totally wrong here) You can go home and access your work machines/system/software from there (or any other location with Internet access).  Well, as much as I am blown away with that feature, again, its something that can be achieved with 3rd party software.

Without going on, I’ll simply link you to the webpage in regards to Branchcache (sounds fancy doesnt it) and you can decide for yourself if these are features you need, want or are truely “unique” to 7 which make it a must have purchase.


So on behalf of all the happy XP customers, whats the feature in 7 that makes it worthwhile them upgrading their OS?  Stay tuned, we may get an answer.
So on behalf of all the happy XP customers, whats the feature in 7 that makes it worthwhile them upgrading their OS? Stay tuned, we may get an answer.

The reason for this article?  I am aware that there are users who will never move from the Windows O/S.  Thats fine, the one thing (I would hope) most FOSS advocates would hold dear is the freedom of choice.  The reason I ask this question is on behalf of the many XP users who dont want Vista and are reluctant to move from XP to 7.  I am sure many people would like to know why they have to upgrade their beloved XP and what exactly is the amazing feature Windows 7 offers that makes it a must have purchase.

As you can see so far, that question is far from answered. (IMO)

I sincerely hope Mr Rose will come here and respond properly.  I would hope he at least tries to keep it as simple as possible, since many of my readers have no knowledge or interest in the “tech side” of computing.  Im sure the happy XP users would much rather purchase a 3rd party package for a feature they needed, rather than upgrade their entire OS, or maybe I’m wrong?

I ask again, what feature does 7 offer that cannot already be achieved either natively or via 3rd party software in XP?

Here’s continuing in the quest to find out what exactly is the “treasure” contained within Windows 7.

In the meantime if you want to check out Mr Rose’s blog, you can find it here:


Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com


25 thoughts on “A question to Microsoft? Whats unique about Windows 7?

Add yours

  1. And what Is so unique about Ubuntu Karmic or any other Linux distro?
    You get incremental upgrades in any case. With 7 you get a number of tools builtin that with XP were a huge headache for typical enterprise IT organization. You had to pay for 3rd part tools themselves or for support, you had to distribute them, include in standard builds and so one. These two tools alone may be not the reason alone as to why to upgrade but the add to compelling reasons.

    1. KDE 4 was NOT an incremental upgrade to any distro, and every subsequent release of KDE 4, after that, was fairly major.

      Also, major changes have included ext4 filesystem by default in most distros, as well as a host of other changes made within the kernel, itself.

      Linux is a free download, so incremental upgrades are acceptable. Windows, is not, so incremental upgrades should not be charged for.

  2. Firstly thanks for the reply, although I’m hoping to still hear from Mr Rose.

    So the first justification of users to upgrade from XP to 7 is to compare it to a Linux distro? Ok. I’ll go down that route.

    As far as the end user is concerned Linux is a free system. If a users tries Karmic and prefers Heron, they haven’t had to part with money to find out. Thats the first point.

    Secondly as I said, there are happy XP customers who may not want to try Linux. I am asking what benefit is there to them. I’ll now cover your reply:

    Quote “With 7 you get a number of tools builtin that with XP were a huge headache for typical enterprise IT organization.”

    It will be impossible to debate Enterprise since each has its own specific needs and I’ve seen evidence of Enterprise that was facilitating both Linux only and Windows only. The point we have made here is for the home user and I ask you, what tools built in are you reffering to? XP Mode? Since you have to pay more for that (being that its shipped with the more expensive versions) you have defeated your own argument when you suggested a 3rd party solution would cost.

    So in relation to my question, your answer IMHO does not tell me anything.

    Touching briefly on Enterprise:

    I put it to you that despite the “compelling reasons” to Enterprise for a 7 migration, I think you will find that “compelling reasons” were put to Enterprise when Vista was released. Looking at the takeup figures of Vista in Enterprise, I’d suggest that those reasons were not so “compelling” and Enterprise managed quite nicely without them.

    If you could be more specific about these “headaches” then maybe readers could judge for themselves how compelling they were and if indeed worth the cost of upgrading their OS.



  3. It’s a very elegant and easy to read essay.

    I tried the site from the M$ representative and I could read the comments on the blog without installing the Light… From what I read, Vista 7 will have a better troubleshooter. Now… that would be a change, because typically Windows always gave me error messages that were totally unrelated to the problem. That feature would be nice… if it works as it should be in the first place!
    But even if it reports errors reliably, that would have to change a culture of reinstalling the operating system…

  4. Thanks for the comments bogdanbiv.

    I appreciate you taking the time to look at the Microsoft site, as soon as I saw the Silverlight “issue” I switched off, mainly because its the height of rudeness (IMO) to simply refer someone to a web site when a question is asked.

    I certainly would never do anyone the discourtesy of that and I would have expected someone who identifies themselves with Microsoft would have the same view. Maybe I am wrong.

    XP is now mature and agreed error reports and informing the user are important, however I think one of the reasons for peoples reluctance to move from XP is because its stable.

    Having spent a week with XP (not out of choice.) I can say that stability wise there was not really an issue. If I was a user happy with XP, error reporting would not be the feature that convinced me to upgrade.


  5. This is response to Alec who says that Windows 7 will have tools that Enterprise will find less of a “headache” than with XP.

    First off, I am an IT Professional with over 10 years of experience with Microsoft products. The company I work for are a Microsoft partner and we get to try Microsoft’s products. So far, Windows 7 is going to represent a headache for us IT guys as the taskbar and start menu are totally different from XP and Vista. Real end-users had a hard time with Office 2007 and the ribbon and now their whole desktop experience which they have got used to since Windows 95 is going to change and they will probably stay with XP (as XP is an official downgrade path with Windows 7 business (or what ever it will be called)) or buy new machines and downgrade. To date I think only one Vista Business PC we have installed still is Vista, the rest have been downgraded to XP (or as our customers say, “upgraded”). The real test will be whether Enterprise will see the justification to retrain staff for the new desktop or just simply downgrade to XP so staff can still be productive.

    For all Microsoft’s new features, one that they don’t take into account is end user happiness. If things change constantly, then end users aren’t happy. Windows has had the same user interface for almost 15 years, that’s a lot of users being familiar with it. The new UI will be a deal breaker for many in Enterprise.

  6. Just to add a little something to AmblestonDack’s comment, I find that the Windows 7 UI change actually provides ammo for arguments to try out alternatives, as long as there aren’t any real blockers in the way (necessary specialized Windows-only software that won’t run in Wine and doesn’t have an acceptable free software alternative, etc.) If the staff is going to have to relearn an interface no matter what the business goes with, then the adjustment to Linux or OSX (usually Linux) doesn’t look as scary in comparison. That, or the business just decides to stays with XP until the day that Microsoft forcefully pries it from their hands. And XP mode has already provided some nice arguments for using Linux as the VM host instead of Windows 7 if XP compatibility is absolutely required.

  7. Thanks all for replying, I’ve been at work all day so I’m sorry for being late in responding.

    I think the comments here highlight a feeling of “change for change sake” and its part of the reason why I wanted to ask about the feature that made 7 the must have option for XP users.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I said before we saw Microsoft touting “compelling reasons” for Vista when that was released, since many firms have stuck with XP it seems that the compelling features were not really compelling after all. With that in mind why should anyone take notice of these “compelling reasons” that have been mentioned about 7 when I am still none the wiser as to the answer to my original question.

  8. Since Mr Rose has been back on Twitter and posting, I thought I’d send him a little reminder. Maybe he missed me original offer of a right of reply. This is what I sent:

    “Mr Rose, are you intending on giving me an answer? If youre not, then it would be polite to at least let me know. #microsoft”

    If he doesnt want to comment, then fine. But don’t you think he should at least let me know? It wouldn’t take him long to send me a couple of lines to that effect.

    I will continue to wait and in the meantime thank the people who are taking the time to try and find an answer to my question.


  9. UPDATE 16.06.09

    There is some encouraging news. After sending my reminder I received the following message from Mr Rose:

    “I am still working on it. Sorry, busy week. I should have something for you in the next 48 hrs.”

    Which is great since its the first time I’ve managed to have a proper response from someone in the position of Mr Rose at Microsoft. My previous emails to MS posing similar questions have not been responded to, so kudos to Mr Rose for taking the time and effort. (although a quick message to let me know this would have saved the need for a reminder)

    Mr Rose, if you would prefer you can email the text to me and Ill dedicate an article to your reply.


  10. I think you make some great points here. Windows XP was released back in 2001. Mobility was not key factor as it is now. Malware, spyware and rootkits were also not an issue like they are today.

    As we all know, many of our users did not move to Windows Vista for a number of reasons, so many corporations stayed with Windows XP and through much work, have made it an excellent operating system for their end users. Before joining Microsoft last year, I spent the last 10 years managing networks like this. I have been an MCSE and a MCT since the NT 4.0 days. I taught engineers in the classrooms and spent many a week freezing my butt of in server rooms installing Apache web servers, Groupwise, Lotus Notes Novel Netware and Microsoft OSes.

    With Windows 7, what is great is there is no one “killer feature”. It is the culmination of many features (some large, some small) that makes Windows 7 a great operating system. Most end users don’t want to know how it works, they just “want it to work.”

    When they are sitting in a Starbucks working connected to public internet, they fact they can click a link in a document that points to a corporate intranet sharepoint server and they are able to download a document without having to go through a long and involved RAS process due to the implementation of Direct Access . Seamless and transparent.

    When a user walks into the office and has a 20 MB document download is seconds due to BranchCache makes that user more effective.

    When a user is prompted to encrypt a thumbdrive so that any data on it is secure makes the job of a security manager easier.

    When a user gets a faster boot up, more batter life, jump lists to access documents faster, quicker connectivity to wireless, built in drivers to WiFi cards, search connectors to find internal and external resources, when they can drag a window to the right and have it automatically resize, when it comes out of sleep quickly and is ready to go and home groups so that home users can stream video, share photos or print to printers at the other end of their house with needing to be technical are all wins for the end user..

    Sure, you can do some of this with XP, plug-ins and such. Who has that kind of time? Do I want to sit and create an image with 30 different tools that constantly require updating, that may not be supported, that have additional costs, that cannot be centrally managed, and were possibly written non-securely? Of course not. What IT pros would? Some would argue that they do not want one company doing all of that and controlling it. That diversity of product creates a better experience. If you buy an off the shelf computer that is a complete, ready to go experience that will do what an end user wants, some people will shun this experience and will choose to build their own for a more customized experience.

    Will you get a better machine? Depends on your definition of better. More things to go wrong and no single coverage. You cannot return that machine and there are possible incompatibilities. Each person has their own yardstick.

    We have had millions of downloads around the Beta and Release Candidate. Tons of great feedback and a lot of excitement around this launch. This is the first OS from Microsoft in a long time that requires less hard drive space, RAM and Processor power than its predecessor. People are very excited. We are trying to make the best OS for many different types of users from consumers and students to tech enthusiasts to developers and IT pros of all ages. We are always open to new ideas, thoughts and ways to make our operating systems better.

    We encourage all users to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate from http://www.microsoft.com/springboard and try it for themselves for free and what you think.

    Best Regards-
    Stephen Rose
    Sr Community Manager
    Microsoft, Corp.

  11. I don’t know about the other features, but I tried once something similar to the description of Direct Access, it was called Hamachi from LogMeIn; it automatically builds a host to host VPN.
    Ah, does this ‘built in drivers to WiFi cards’ mean that users don’t need countless driver disks, because downloading a driver requires in turn an internet connection?
    Well, this phrase was in every advertisment from M****soft since the begining: “People are very excited”.
    Well, it remains to be seen if they manage to push it to the XP & Vista 6 users…

  12. Quote “Very quick and easy to use.”

    Yep and the same can be said for many alternatives to Windows. Forgetting about Linux (which is quick and easy despite what the MS faithful say) Apple’s Mac is also quick an easy. Again, its hardly a reason why Windows 7 is worth the upgrade.

    If I was suspicious I could say that was a cheeky little comment made way after the article has run its course. A common tactic (Ive even documented it) in the hope to have the last word should someone find the article as a result of a google….Im sure its perfectly innocent in this case however,
    I am always alerted to new comments, so the exercise is futile.

  13. That is my photo and you should ask first, and also give a photo credit (with my permission), before using it for your own purposes. You obviously copied this from my page at yourprops.com as my user name appears on the right if this image.

    Photo by Mark Prigoff. The Ark of the Covenant replica, (1:4 scale), made by Indy Magnoli.

  14. Mr Prigoff, I actually got this image (with many others a long time ago) I believe it came from a game developed with a devkit called Gamemaker and it was an indi themed one (as in Indiana Jones…. If you wish for the picture to be removed that is no problem.

    For the information of readers, Mark’s site can be found at: http://markprigoff.com/


    After speaking with Mark, he has kindly given permission for this picture to be used. I would hope that you would take time to visit his site.

    Thanks Mark!

  15. what a stupid question, what is better in win 7, why not ask what is better with each version or distro of linux.

    It’s just better, it’s smoother, quicker, more stable, and you dont have to search for third party products to get what you want done.

    Im sure you only asking questions like this to generate a bit of flame bait, but it’s just a stupid question, (expected I guess).

    Take “win 7” out of your question and replace it with “linux”. And you might (I doubt it) see how stupid and pointless you’re question is.

    But it was not intended to be answered, it was intended to allow you to express you’re personal bias and hate for all things that you dont agree with .

    But to answer you’re purile question, Microsoft operating systems, XP, VISTA, and WIN7 SHIT’s all over every linux distro or version ive ever used.

    Linux is still in the “win 3.11” stage of evolution, playing catchup and never getting anywhere, except 10 to 20 years after everyone else has done it, and for the linux fanboys to work out how they did it, so they can “innovate” that idea too.

    “Openbytes, let US tell you what you will use”.

    “Openbytes, we force our opinions on you for your own good”.

    “Openbytes, if you are not with us, you are the enemy”.

    “Openbytes, we want your freedom of choice”.

    “Openbytes, our product is crap, so we attack everyone else, (it’s just so much easier).

    “Linux, functionality is not a feature, but we reserve the right to keep you in the dark ages”.

    “Linux, we could not do HURD, so we stole UNIX”.

    “GNU, not skilled enough to write a C compiler, so we stole UNIX CC”.

    “GNU/Linux, Why innovate when you can immatate”.

    “hate the world, join FOSS”

    “cant think of anything new? what’s Microsoft doing that we can steal”.

    “Patents, we’ll they stop us stealing things off others, so they cant be good, stupid laws”.

    “Mom’s and Dads, around the world, finance GNU/Linux by supporting their 35 year old “kids” in basements”.

    CEO to CTO, “I heard there is a new linux distro, that I think will fit our corporate image perfectly, it’s called “paris hilton linux”, CTO, “thats great that will complement our Hanna Montanna cluster perfectly!!”

    “KPilot, becomes VAPOURWARE”

    1. If you think I will waste my time picking through that (since you wasted my time with your other comment) you are deluded.

      What’s your game? Comment on articles over 6 months old? If you continue this disruptive behavior then like other posters who couldn’t behave like adults you will have to have a disclaimer put in front on your comments.

      Also please consider that people may be offended by your swearing. There is no need for it. If you can’t express yourself without it, you have my pity.

  16. Ofcourse, you dont like what I say so you censor me, LOL.

    And I did not expect you to address the issues, I know that it’s not really you’re strong point, that is providing logical and consistant counterarguments to fair comments.

    But I guess, you managed to create a bit more flame bair, it’s just sad that you seem to be able to dish out the FUD flames, but you cannot handle any adverse comments and might shake you’re believe values or you’re cult leaders ideals.

    As for swaring, get over it, ive seen far worse from you’re mates at BN, and you dont mind that, if you cant handle a low level “sware” word, then I also pitty you..

    (I dont really, I dont give a shit about you ) 🙂

    But I do care about the damage you do to FOSS and you’re “movement” that you advocate for.

    trouble is you guys actually believe you are helping when in fact the damage you do seems to be holding you’re cult back a massive amount.

    But thats you’re problem, I just want linux to be better, if you think it’s perfect now thats great.

    But trying to drag everyone else down to you’re level, shows me you are the true troll here.

    What do you do apart from troll the web trying to dig dirt on you’re enemies…

    But if you cant see that, fine thats you’re problem,

    You’re the typical “hater” that torvalds says is so damaging to FOSS/Linux, but you get amusement from it, so it’s ok to damage you’re cause for you’re own ego gains, I guess…

  17. Quote “Ofcourse, you dont like what I say so you censor me, LOL.

    Er no Daryl. What I will do is put a warning at the beginning of your text so that if anyone IS offended by swearing they will be pre-warned. Nothing is censored as you can still say what you want.

    I don’t think asking people not to swear on my blog is much to ask, do you?

    Quote “And I did not expect you to address the issues, I know that it’s not really you’re strong point, that is providing logical and consistant counterarguments to fair comments.”

    What points Daryl? Please ask the questions plainly, I will ask them plainly. You are making multiple posts on my site, its hard to keep up when I have articles Im writing and several other things going on. This is a hobby Daryl not a career.

    Quote “But I guess, you managed to create a bit more flame bair, it’s just sad that you seem to be able to dish out the FUD flames, but you cannot handle any adverse comments and might shake you’re believe values or you’re cult leaders ideals.”

    Again, Rubbush. Make your points ask me what you want me to justify/clarify don’t throw a post of silly pretend conversation at me and expect a reply.

    Quote ” in fact the damage you do seems to be holding you’re cult back a massive amount.”

    LOL. Yes I did an article on that…”Ah you are killing the FOSS” Rubbish, of course. So Im not allowed to write about subjects that I enjoy writing about? Are you saying that I am such a powerful individual that I have an impact on the larger IT community? Thanks for the compliment, but I think you are mistaken.

    Quote “shows me you are the true troll here.”

    You come to my blog with your silliness and accuse me of trolling? Ok. I will let the readers decide for themselves. Coincidently though my stats show they are not reading this article in the main Daryl so if you intention is to try to spread lies to the “masses” its failing, you had better try this behaviour on one of the more recent posts.

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